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Rules for playing Ping Pong

This Page is a Guide to the Ping Pong rules and regulations

These Ping Pong Rules outline and the rules and regulations of the game of Ping Pong.

Ping Pong Game Preparation.
Before starting a game of Ping-Pong it is worth remembering that whilst Ping-Pong is played in a relatively small area it does require a certain amount of physical exertion. Warming up and stretching is, therefore, essential to avoid potential injury. Also make sure there is adequate lighting and enough room around the table to move freely.


Starting a game or Ping Pong
Service is usually decided with a coin toss or with a player hiding the ball in one of his/her hands and asking his/her opponent to guess which hand hides the concealed ball. The ‘winner’ of each of either of these random decider is given the option of either serving first or asking his/her opponent to serve first and choosing which end of the table to play from.


Service in a game
In game play, the player who is serving commences the point. Standing at his/her end of the table and holding the ball in one hand (above table height) and the bat in the other, the player must toss the ball vertically in the air (without spin and at least 16cm) before hitting the ball causing it to bounce once in his/her half of the table and again in his/her opponent’s half of the table. If the ball strikes the net and does not hit the opponent’s half of the table then a fault is called and the opponent is awarded a point. If, however, the ball strikes the net and goes onto hit the opponent’s side of the table then ‘let’ is called and the service must be retaken. A player may commit any number of lets without penalty or his/her opponent being awarded any points. If the service is ‘good’ then the opponent must return the ball before it bounces on his/her side of the table a second time.


How to Score in Ping Pong
Points are awarded to an opponent in the event of any of the following errors:

Allowing the ball to bounce twice on his/her own side of the table

Failing to hit the ball after it has bounced on his/her own side of the table

Causing the ball to bounce on his/her own side of the table (except in a service shot where this is required)

Hitting the ball before it as bounce on his/her own side of the table

Double hitting the ball during one shot with the bat and/or the hand below the wrist

Allowing the ball to strike anything other than the racket

Causing the ball not to bounce in the opponent’s half in a return shot

Touching or moving the playing surface with one’s free hand

Failing to make a good serve

Making an illegal serve (for example, by not tossing the ball at least 16cm into the air before the bat makes contact


Ping Pong Play, the alternation of service
Service alternates between players every two points regardless of which player has won those points. Play continues until a player reaches 11 points with a clear 2-point lead, in which event the lead scoring player wins, or until both players reach 10 points each, in which case a tiebreaker is played. In a tiebreaker situation play continues with service alternating after each point until one player reaches a 2-point advantage.

In doubles play service alternates between sides and also between each player on either side. After two points have been played the receiving player becomes the server and the serving player’s partner becomes the receiver.

Series of games
Matches are usually played as the best of five or seven games with players switching sides every game. In the event of a fifth or seventh deciding game players will switch sides when the first player scores five points, regardless of whose turn it is to serve.


The Variations of the game of Ping Pong
In recreational games players may decide to relax the rules adopting a ‘volleyball’ style system of scoring and play. This may include such allowances such as allowing the ‘let’ serve, not requiring the server to bounce the ball on his/her half of the table during a serve and allowing volleying to make the game easier and encourage longer rallies. Common recreational scoring systems include playing best of three games with points ranging from first to 15 to 30.


Ping Pong Doubles play
In addition to the more common two-player version of the game, Ping-Pong can also be played with four players with two players on each side. In doubles all the standard Ping-Pong rule apply with just a few exceptions. A line is painted lengthways down the centre of the table that divides the table into four areas to facilitate the doubles service rule in which a serve must first bounce in the serving side’s right-hand table area before bouncing again in the opponents’ right-hand table area (far-left area for the server). After a serve play continues with the further requirement that players must alternate hitting the ball.

These are the Basic Rules and Regulation to Ping Pong